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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, January 12, 2003


Netroots are still more organized than the campaign

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 12, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The official Dean For America campaign website is offline as of this writing, most likely to failure to renew the DNS registration. The campaign has made an effort to recognize its netroot support recently, for example Joe Trippi (Dean's media consultant) has actually contacted the admins of this blog indicating that Governor Dean may want to send us a message soon (we are extremely eager and await further reply). Hopefully it won't be the same text as the boilerplate fundraising email sent out last week:

Subject: Governor Dean needs your help...

Dear Supporter,

About a year ago, I started traveling across the United States to share my vision for our country with the American people.

I believed that the Governor of a small state with little national reputation could impact the nation by discussing the issues that directly impact the lives of all Americans.

We must have health care for every American. We must balance the budget. Our economic policies must benefit all our citizens, not those who need help the least. Our foreign policy must be consistent, coherent and done in partnership with our Allies, not in spite of them. And our nation must have a common sense leader who puts getting things done ahead of partisan ideology.

After visits to 21 states, including 15 trips to Iowa and 20 to New Hampshire, I have gone from "little known Governor" to presidential contender. My campaign has received tremendous press coverage including profiles in the New York Times and the Boston Globe as well as appearances on "Meet the Press", "This Week" and "Face the Nation" among others.

Now I really need your help. The last hurdle I have to clear is a credible fund raising effort. I know I will not be the candidate with the most money, but I am committed to being the candidate with the strongest grassroots support.

You can help by sending your contribution today. Doing so will not only infuse the campaign with much needed cash, it will help us become eligible for public financing. Once we have done so, the first $250 of each contribution will be matched dollar for dollar.

You can print out a contribution form or make a contribution directly at or mail your contribution to Dean for America at PO Box 1228, Burlington, VT 05402.

In addition, we need your help spreading the word about my campaign and our grassroots fundraising effort. Send this e-mail to all your family, friends and colleagues. Together, we can give our country a different kind of candidate with a different kind of campaign.

Thank you for your early support. Without your help, this campaign would not be possible.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Paid for by Dean for America, PO Box 1228, Burlington, VT 05402

Public Relations, Dean for America
P.O. Box 1228 - Burlington, VT 05402
(802)846-6600, (802)846-6606 Fax

Still, despite clear leadership from the campaign to the grassroots level, the netroots are self-organizing. For example, has a meetup page devoted to Howard Dean, which will be enormously useful to Dean supporters who want to organize. William Finkel, who works for the site, has these comments about

I think that our service can be a great asset to Governor Dean's campaign, in that we can allow for grassroots organizers to meet with other local supporters to coordinate and plan. We are currently in 477 US cities with over 100,000 memberes (in just 6 months), allowing us to have meetings in many cities where your supporters do not have an established structure. You can see what the page for this Meetup looks like at .

It's really up to the campaign whether it wants to give an official blessing to these kinds of netroot efforts or not - but they will likely happen regardless. Still, with some explicit outreach, the campaign can reap far greater rewards.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.